Woman where art thou?

I remember lying down flat on the red dusty gravel filled soil in front of my secondary school dormitory, I remember wondering what did I ever do to deserve this?

I remember the demands of a ‘senior girl’ that I fill her cup with beverages from my provision; I remember being sent to kneel down for an hour under the scorching sun for not obliging the request.

I remember feeling out of place for being a girl, sometimes enjoying its benefits, other times absolutely abhorring its natural calls.

I remember crying my eyes out as they teased me for having a boyfriend in junior secondary school. I remember smiling as an undergraduate after a date.

I remember smiling at my aunt’s kids, thinking how much fun it would be to have a baby. I remember looking at my four month old daughter, wishing I could ship her away to my mum for a while.

I remember sitting at home pregnant with my daughter, wishing the four walls of the room played out scenes from my favourite movies or served as portals to my favourite places. I remember catching a forty-five-minute bus each way to school and back, going to work when I could, while logging around my ever growing second pregnancy.

I remember feeling content with speaking to dear ones through social media thankful the drama of sharing personal space was cut out, I remember wishing I had my mom with me in the labour room.

I remember that through all these times I have always felt that I had no choice but to be strong. I remember feeling the need to make sure my burden hung squarely on my shoulder and on no other.

I remember wishing I could become a child again.

This is my personal journey and most of it has been my choice, while others have been thrust on me my circumstances. It’s interesting to see a come thread running through my journey, a myth that I had come to believe at an early age; the myth that every real woman is strong, able to shoulder every challenge. I absolutely scoffed at women/girls who cried so easily, women/girls who worked their wiles on others to get their way. I especially find it hard to cajole people, a trait that makes me a poor salesperson except when on a mission. And after many years of being me ‘the way I wanted’, motherhood has shaped me into someone who has had to embrace every facet of herself.

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I have learned to cry simply to relieve my tension, to not feeling worried that others might see me as weak or manipulative, because if they feel that way perhaps they feel guilty for not doing enough.
I am learning how to make both impromptu and well thought out decision through checklists.
I am learning to refine my communication skills, realising that patience is very important to the process.
I am adapting to the possibility that living day by day does not make my life less impactful than having high powered dreams/goals. I am accepting that it might be slow but it is not meaningless.

As I read the three waves of the feminist movement, I can’t help wondering what was the overriding goal of each phase? I find myself coming back to the word choice. Without choices, life would probably be crippling, both mentally and physically. Everyone wants the right of way on the narrow streets of life. Sadly this is not possible, thus the need for rules and laws, but if the law gives right of way to Mercedes or Nissan brands only hasn’t it failed in being equitable? This is perhaps why road signs/instructions address car dimensions and potential and not brands.

Humans much like cars come in different dimensions, and varying horse powers regardless of similar dimensions. I don’t know much about cars but I assume it would be unrealistic to expect all cars with a 2.0 engine to perform exactly the same way. There are several factors which would impact on its performance including brand, model, driver, country of use, other components etc. All these factors determine the pricing of these cars. Women(men) are in the same way similar and it’s my belief that what most women want is to be treated in ways that respect their individuality, giving them room to accomplish their dreams.

Whether in their personal or professional lives, women want to have the right to progress in any direction. They don’t expect rules to favour Mercedes above Nissan, rather they want rules that keep everyone safe on the road. Choice …. choice. Sadly this idea offends many, for a choice in the corporate world might ultimately cement the place of choices in the community. It is as though the world prefers to confer rights on a maladjusted man rather than any woman. Sometimes a Childs’ choice seems more valued than a woman. We prefer that which might be seen as frivolous than one which requires thoughtful and considerate engagement.

Bringing the point closer to the home front, often in the family we find the womans choice clinching loosely at the bottom of the scale of preference. We have taught our sons the act of having the final say, of laying down the rules, of taking charge without knowing what they are actually in charge of. We have taught our daughters the perfect timing for the first word, the perfect sequence for following instructions, the act of supporting missions without teaching them how to spot impossible missions. 20180106_174851

We failed to teach both how to construct the middle bit of the conversation, how to get to build up to an amicable conclusion. We have taught them to imagine a beautiful end but equipped them for a bloody battle of wits, choices, manipulative skills and little about integrity in the confines of a small room with an audience of one. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Where are your choices taking you? What sort of woman are you becoming?

Your tears are not your shame
Your scars are no regrets
Your strength is not in words
Your weakness is not in silence
defined by a moment you are not
shaped by moments you will be
live those moments truly and wholly.

Choices come at a price but certainly not the price of being superhuman. Society has equated a woman who wants the same privilege for the same role/responsibility as a woman who wants to be a man. Should choices take away from our masculinity or femininity? If my husband asks for help lifting heavy items does that make him less masculine or me less feminine? Earning more or less, exploring my potential doesn’t change my gender or does it? Should it.? How I chose to display my feminine side is subjective to me. Some people will earn more income and undergo personality changes, others won’t, should this be the bases for rules?

In my opinion, the only feminine movement that counts is that which protects the individual woman, giving her room to grow and blossom. To explore her choices, curbing them only when they mitigate harmfully against another. They say we are our own worst enemies and it is true. When last did you complement, support or encourage another woman?

There is a universal truth: we can’t have it all. However, there is another truth: we always have something to add, to own.

What’s your choice worth?

My girl child

To my darling bud of May,

Today has been set aside to celebrate the girl child across the world so I thought why not write a note to you my very own girl child. When I first found out I was pregnant, I remember hoping with all my heart for a boy and until the sonographer said “congratulations it’s a girl,” I held unto that hope fiercely. I had nothing against the girl child, however, being a woman I had terrible premonitions of what the future would look like for you, for us as a mother-daughter team. 

See I never really understood myself as a pre-teen or teenager and if I am completely honest I still haven’t figured out everything about myself. I had visions of screaming matches, temper tantrums, pink powder explosions and dark moods vibrating off the walls. I guess the common rhetoric’s across the world hasn’t done much to calm my frayed nerves with respect to raising a girl child in today’s society.

They say it’s a mans world and my darling I must say they are not far from the truth, but who’s truth is that really? God made the world, placing male and female side by side to govern it. I guess when he told Adam to identify and name the animals, Adam decided to go one step further to name the earth calling it -Man’s world. I have no doubt he stood atop some precipice holding a branch from an oak tree while he made this life changing declaration.

I wonder what Eve was doing during this monumentus occasion? Perhaps sitting in the tree listening to the serpent mock Adam, reminding her that with the sway of her hips , the toss of her hair and puckered lips she could get Adam to do as she pleased. Sadly, she probably never considered the lengths to which her male offspring would take that declaration or how the sway of hips would end up biting her female offspring on the butt  literally. 

So is it really a man’s world? I think I will let you come to your own conclusion as you learn more about the world. However, as you observe this world I hope to show you the beauty that lies within it, but also the pain that attempts to overshadow that beauty. I hope to show you that whatever label they slap on the world, with a little hope, a little contentment, a  heart full of prayers and a sturdy cheerleading squad (ME !!!) you can make your little niche as peaceful and wholesome as one possibly can.

They say vehemently back home in Nigeria that a woman is nothing without a man. To a given extent they have started to question that line of thought, you can’t imagine how grateful I am for that slight change. But has it really changed? If the man treats the woman right as he ought they say “the woman is NOTHING without a good man” but if he treats her wrong they say “the woman is not-a-thing with a bad man”, or “the woman is nothing with a bad man”. What do they mean by all this, again I will let you decipher the meaning. 

In line with the above thoughts my daughter, I hope to show you that a woman is SOMETHING, something, some-times-a-thing, depending on how she sees herself, and how those around see her. If I don’t give you anything else my lovely child, I hope through your formative years to give you an inner voice that speaks calming and loving through corrections, and applauses alike. This I hope will draw you closer to your inner self, a self capable of shutting out the different precedents barked at the woman depending on where she finds herself. A peaceful voice that leaves no doubt in your mind that you are SOMETHING, and that sometimes in other to precipitate change it’s okay to be ‘something’ but that it is never ever okay to let yourself or anyone else make you feel like a ‘thing’.

Finally they declare strongly in the United Kingdom that the woman is equal to man. This sounds ways better than what we have back home, but is it really better? From my understanding this places the sum total of a woman’s worth subject to how the man values himself. Why isn’t she worth something simply based on who she is? Is man the zenith of perfection? The entire definition of success? Please do not misunderstand me my darling child, I am not here to preach heresy but the way I see it, Man IS, Woman IS, because God IS. If we are in his image then the only person I should desire to look like or be ‘equal’ to in potential, in right to advocate a better life for myself should be God. Once again I emphasize that I do not preach heresy, but if I must strive to attain any freedom, any height it must be to live the best godly life that I am capable of living regardless of who’s beside me.

So my darling child on this day when we celebrate the girl child I want you to know without a doubt that I will walk through the tantrums with you, I will supply the powder for the pink powder explosions and the permanent ink for colouring in the dark moods whenever they show up, if they show up. I was scared at the start but with each day I become bolder as my love for you grows. Bolder and hopefully wiser to face all our tomorrows regardless of what it throws up before us. 

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Two sided

Scene one:

Mr X at the office:

At the office he carries out every task as designated by his boss.

Sitting at the conference table he speaks with great charisma, his enigma exuding through the room, a man of great talent, he dazzles his peers.

“Can you run through these facts again?” demands the equally unquivering voice of his boss.

He missed out a tiny details, a mere oversight.

Yikes! Thankfully the boss was able to overlook it this time, can’t let that happen again.


Mr Y at his business premise:

Screaming obscenties at the costumer, “I don’t want to see you near my stall again, useless person. Go and see if anyone will sell you materials at that price.”

“It is a market place and I am allowed to price things, no need to become abusive.”

“That one is english you’re speaking, don’t carry that your bad juju near my shop again ohh. Stingy human being, poverty will soon catch you.”

Walking away feeling slightly embarassed the customer approached the next shop hoping to get a better deal and less attitude.

…..oO0……

Scene Two:

Mr X at home.

“Honey I am home.”

“Welcome darling, how was work today? Hope it wasn’t too bad?”

“No, where is my food?”

“It’s almost done.”

“Almost done, I am really tired and hungry. What have you been doing since you got back from work?”

“You mean since I got back from work and picking the kids?” Laughing “Sweetheart It will soon be ready.”

Thirty minutes later, the meal is served. Taking a few mouthful.

“This food is absolutely rubbish, what did you do, just mix everything up together?”

“Honey it’s not like that, it must be ….”

And that was how the fight started …

Sometime before midnight a jaw bone was broken, a heart raced in anger, another suffered profuse internal flooding as emotions rumbled and roared within, fear lead the losing cause.

He submitted to his boss, but not to the one he loved.

He yielded his emotions to learning and sharing at work, but not to the one he made a vow.

Perhaps his priorities are screwed, perhaps he feels submitting to love weakens him and submitting to money empowers him.


My Y at home:

“My darling wife well done, this meal you made was very tasty.”

“Thank you my husband, how was today? Hope market sold well?”

“Yes oh, the day has gone the way God desired. That reminds me where you able to buy the childrens school books and uniform.”

“Yes I was and I got them for a very good bargain. I priced until the seller almost chased me away.” They both laughed.

“You do well my dear, I can always trust you to be frugal with out resources. That is why you will always be my darling wife, the odozi aku of my life.”

He forgets the lady at his shop was someone’s wife.

He forgets that as he treated one outside, he empowered society to treat those within his household.

Perhaps he feels ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ are worlds apart, perhaps he feels if I don’t siton my own basket no one else would, he forgets  the world isn’t a one man island.


Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21

To submit to another is not an indication of irrelevance, submission allows for structure to reign. Your boss doesn’t also know better or act better but the bulk stops at their table; a process of orderliness. We stay with jobs, organistions, bosses and systems that are less than we hope for, submitting to it’s dictates and demands, but at the least challenge we thow in the towel or throw insome punches into our marriage.

Male and female we must learn to submit to each other at home and in public. It’s a mark of respect not weakness. I am still in the process of working out my submission skills.

Note: I don’t not in anyway advocate staying in an abusive relationship.

 

 

 

 

The bill; women and society

The Nigerian senate a few days ago rejected a bill proposed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. A bill that would have set the ball rolling, promoting equality for women across the Nigerian society. It comes as no surprise that the said bill was rejected.

Equality: the ​right of different ​groups of ​people to have a ​similar​ social ​position and ​receive the same ​treatment. Cambridge dictionary.

The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. Oxford dictionary.

“You will never find the real truth among people that are insecure or have egos to protect. Truth over time becomes either guarded or twisted as their perspective changes; it changes with the seasons of their shame, love, hope or pride.”  ― Shannon L. Alder


The above quote is very apt for describing the thought process of the individuals who refuted the bill; standing on the grounds of religion (Christians and Muslims alike) some senators deemed the bill a challenge to deep held beliefs. And to that I say what a load of crap. I can’t speak for Muslims but I know without a doubt that Christianity in no form encourages the subjugation of another human being. It does encourage a wife to submit to her husband: her husband not all men. God in his infinite wisdom knowing how the human mind can misconstrue things equally demanded that the man should love his wife like Christ loved the church (a part of the instruction numerous men choose to overlook) Why? Because love as Christ demanded bears no thoughts of harm towards it’s recipient (neither emotional, psychological or physical harm). Outside the matrimonial relationship the universal  instruction for dealing with people regardless of gender is to live at peace with each other. 

“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” ― Khaled Hosseini

And this my friends is the crux of the matter. Everyone knows the guiding rule of the blame game: blame the weaker opponent, the older child accuses the middle child who in turn accuses the last child. The man accuses the woman after all who will come to her defense. They do not want equality because it leaves no room for errors to be swept under the universal carpet ‘it’s a man’s world’. Equality weighs your capacity not your gender; your competence and not your brash ability to intimidate another. Don’t get me wrong the ‘equality bill’ will by no means immediately change our nation, it’s still struggling to do so in more advanced countries. However, passing it into existence sets the stage for progress. But Nigeria recognizes the rights of women : they work, they are educated, they vote. I do not agree, NO. ‘Nigeria’ decided where to re-position women in today’s society, it decided we follow. Pass the bill, set the stage for equitable partnership across board. Set the bar for merit based awards, not sex based awards. (Every pun intended)

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Is this equality or extreme feminism?

Chris Gayle was hit by a barrage of criticism following his  comment during an interview with Mel McLaughlin at a Big Bash League match in Australia. “To see your eyes for the first time is nice,” he said, in response to a question about his innings. “Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don’t blush baby.” (Read the news here.)

Naturally I felt uncomfortable hearing or reading the news that followed the above comment. To be honest the jury is still out as to  how his comment should be taken: as a joke, as an insult, as … I don’t really know.

Then I watched Maria Sharapova video here and my confusion went up another notch.

If any of the reporters in both scenarios had flirted back in that moment while recording I think they would have come under some heavy criticism. However, the case is different when it comes to fining or meting out criticism/reprimand to the people being interviewed (i.e. Maria and Chris).

Is that really equality?

Can anyone make a case for either side? Would love to read/hear your thoughts.

What are your thoughts on feminism?